“Jasmine Revolution”
Symbol of peace: Flowers placed on the barrel of a tank
in very much calmer protests than in recent days in Tunisia

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011

'The Protester' - Time Person of the Year 2011
Mannoubia Bouazizi, the mother of Tunisian street vendor Mohammed Bouazizi. "Mohammed suffered a lot. He worked hard. but when he set fire to himself, it wasn’t about his scales being confiscated. It was about his dignity." (Peter Hapak for TIME)

How eyepatches became a symbol of Egypt's revolution - Graffiti depicting a high ranking army officer with an eye patch Photograph: Nasser Nasser/ASSOCIATED PRESS

2 - EGYPT Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)


''17 February Revolution"

3 - LIBYA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

5 - SYRIA Democratic Change / Freedom of Speech (In Transition)

"25 January Youth Revolution"
Muslim and Christian shoulder-to-shoulder in Tahrir Square
"A Summary" – Apr 2, 2011 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Religion, Shift of Human Consciousness, 2012, Intelligent/Benevolent Design, EU, South America, 5 Currencies, Water Cycle (Heat up, Mini Ice Ace, Oceans, Fish, Earthquakes ..), Middle East, Internet, Israel, Dictators, Palestine, US, Japan (Quake/Tsunami Disasters , People, Society ...), Nuclear Power Revealed, Hydro Power, Geothermal Power, Moon, Financial Institutes (Recession, Realign integrity values ..) , China, North Korea, Global Unity,..... etc.) -
(Subjects: Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" (without a manager hierarchy) managed Businesses, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)
"The End of History" – Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)
(Subjects:Abraham, Isaac, Ishmael, Muhammad, Jesus, God, Jews, Arabs, EU, US, Israel, Iran, Russia, Africa, South America, Global Unity,..... etc.) (Text version)

"If an Arab and a Jew can look at one another and see the Akashic lineage and see the one family, there is hope. If they can see that their differences no longer require that they kill one another, then there is a beginning of a change in history. And that's what is happening now. All of humanity, no matter what the spiritual belief, has been guilty of falling into the historic trap of separating instead of unifying. Now it's starting to change. There's a shift happening."


“ … Here is another one. A change in what Human nature will allow for government. "Careful, Kryon, don't talk about politics. You'll get in trouble." I won't get in trouble. I'm going to tell you to watch for leadership that cares about you. "You mean politics is going to change?" It already has. It's beginning. Watch for it. You're going to see a total phase-out of old energy dictatorships eventually. The potential is that you're going to see that before 2013.

They're going to fall over, you know, because the energy of the population will not sustain an old energy leader ..."



Heads of governments during the opening session of the African Union summit
on January 30, 2014 at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa (AFP, Samuel Gebru)

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela
Few words can describe Nelson Mandela, so we let him speak for himself. Happy birthday, Madiba.
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Spain nurse definitively cured of Ebola: doctors

Yahoo – AFP, Daniel Silva, 21 Oct 2014

A protester holds her nurse identification card during a demonstration in support of
 Spanish nurse Teresa Romero infected with the deadly Ebola virus in Madrid on
October 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/Curto De La Torre)

Madrid (AFP) - A Spanish nurse who was the first person to catch Ebola outside Africa has been cured of the deadly virus, doctors confirmed Tuesday, easing fears of it spreading in Europe.

Doctors at the Carlos III hospital in Madrid said definitive test results showed Teresa Romero, 44, was free of the virus, which has killed more than 4,500 people in west Africa.

"The criteria set by the World Health Organization for curing the Ebola virus have been fulfilled," Doctor Jose Ramon Arribas, head of the hospital's infectious diseases unit, told a news conference.

The news was met with relief after two tense weeks that generated public sympathy for Romero -- along with questions about safety procedures and spending cuts in Spain's health sector.

"We have had a hard, worrying time since this started, but now little by little we can see light at the end of the tunnel. These test results are a cause for happiness," said Marta Arsuaga, one of the doctors treating Romero.

"We have to wait for her to get back to the state of health she had before. Then we will really be happy and ready to celebrate."

Officials earlier said Romero had received blood serum from a patient who had survived the disease. Doctors would not give any further details of other treatments she may have received.

There is no vaccine nor any widely available cure for Ebola but a number of experimental treatments have been fast-tracked for development.

Health safety 'failings'

Romero was one of the nursing staff at the Carlos III hospital who treated two elderly Spanish missionaries who caught the disease in Africa and died in Madrid in August and September.

Her husband Javier Limon and 14 other people who had contact with the nurse before she was diagnosed are under observation at the hospital but none has yet shown symptoms.

Arribas said a specialist laboratory confirmed that a fourth and final round of tests had shown Romero to be clear of the virus, though she might take "a few days" to completely get over the symptoms.

Arribas said that according to WHO guidelines, officials will have to wait until 42 days after the curing of the last infected patient to declare the country free of Ebola.

The haemorrhagic fever is passed by contact with the bodily fluids of those infected. It begins with fever and can lead to diarrhoea, vomiting, internal bleeding and organ failure.

The WHO in its latest toll said 4,555 people had died from Ebola out of a total of 9,216 cases registered in seven countries as of October 14.

The spread of the disease outside hard-hit African countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone has put governments around the world on alert.

The United States has introduced health checks at airports for travellers from the region. Two nurses fell ill in Texas after caring for a Liberian man who died from the disease, but no more cases have been detected there for six days.

Shortly after Romero was hospitalised, officials outraged health care staff by hinting that the patient herself was to blame for getting infected.

Spain's General Nursing Council released a report alleging what its chairman Maximo Gonzalez described as "substantial failings" in health safety procedures.

He told a news conference that hospital staff treating Ebola patients were given ill-fitting protective gloves and permeable overalls and were not properly trained in how to put them on and take them off.

Related Articles:

Monday, October 20, 2014

Nigeria declared Ebola-free in 'spectacular success'

Yahoo – AFP, Ola Awoniyi with Bryan Mcmanus in Luxembourg

A teacher demonstrates washing procedures to pupils prevent the spread of the
Ebola virus at a school in Lagos on October 8, 2014 (AFP Photo/Pius Utomi Ekpei)

Abuja (AFP) - Nigeria was declared Ebola-free on Monday in a "spectacular success" in the battle to contain the spread of a virus which is devastating Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia where more than 4,500 people have died.

The World Health Organization said Nigeria -- Africa's most populous country where eight deaths had sparked fears of a rapid spread through its teeming cities -- had shown the world "that Ebola can be contained".

Another west African nation, Senegal, was declared free of the virus on Friday.

Liberian health workers at the NGO
Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors
Without Borders) Ebola treatment centre
in Monrovia on October 18, 2014 (AFP
Photo/Zoom Dosso)
European Union foreign ministers meeting in Luxembourg said the bloc must step up efforts to contain Ebola and prevent it becoming a global threat.

Amid concerns that the global response has been too slow, the 28 EU nations agreed to do more to get foreign medical staff onto the Ebola frontline.

They also agreed to appoint an Ebola coordinator.

"The person will be named in the coming days," French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told reporters.

In the United States, the absence of any new cases in the last five days prompted cautious optimism from health authorities that the virus has been contained there after a flawed initial response.

In another encouraging piece of news, test results showed a Spanish nurse who was the first person to contract the virus outside Africa appears to now be clear of the disease after treatment.

But while the rest of the world appeared to be winning the fight to keep Ebola at bay, the three west African countries which account for the vast majority of the 4,500 deaths -- Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea -- were counting a rising human and economic cost.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf warned Sunday that a generation of Africans was at risk of "being lost to economic catastrophe" because of the crisis.

The "time for talking or theorising is over," she said in an open letter published by the BBC.

"This fight requires a commitment from every nation that has the capacity to help -- whether that is with emergency funds, medical supplies or clinical expertise."

EU calls for more funds

The WHO declared Nigeria free of Ebola after 42 days elapsed without any new cases among its 170 million citizens.

"The virus is gone for now. The outbreak in Nigeria has been defeated," the WHO's representative in Nigeria, Rui Gama Vaz, said.

"This is a spectacular success story that shows to the world that Ebola can be contained."

In Luxembourg, the EU foreign ministers agreed the European Commission should "guarantee appropriate care for international health responders".

They said that should include the option of medical evacuation to ensure staff working in the worst-hit countries receive the best care themselves.

That has been a key stumbling block in trying to boost the number of foreign medical workers prepared to work in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone.

The ministers also said there was a need to set up a pool of volunteer health experts from EU states "for quick and targeted deployment in health crises".

Nigeria supporters have their temperature taken with infrared thermometers on
 September 6, 2014 prior to entering the a stadium in Calabar, Nigeria to watch the
 2015 African Cup of Nations qualifier between Nigeria and Congo (AFP Photo/
Florian Plaucheur)

They also called on the international community to meet the $1.0 billion (782 million euros) sought by the UN, saying EU countries had put up around 500 million euros so far.

The success of Senegal and Nigeria in containing the virus is being studied by public health specialists looking to contain the spread of the disease around the world.

Some 10,000 people have been infected with the haemorrhagic fever for which there is no vaccine or cure.

A Norwegian woman who contracted the Ebola virus while working for Doctors Without Borders in Sierra Leone has been cured after treatment in an isolation unit in Oslo, the organisation said Monday.

"We are very happy to learn that our colleague has been cured," said Jonas Haagensen, a spokesman for the Norwegian branch of the organisation, also known by its French name Medecins sans Frontieres.

In Havana, Cuban President Raul Castro urged fellow Latin American leftist leaders to work together to fight Ebola, saying the disease "threatens us all" as he opened a summit on Monday.

Cuba has sought to place itself at the forefront of the international response to the Ebola epidemic, sending 165 doctors and nurses to west Africa to combat the disease, with another 300 on the way.

Related Article:


Dutch dredging firms win new Suez Canal mega contract

DutchNews.nl, Monday 20 October 2014

(NOS/EPA)
Dutch dredging companies Boskalis and Van Oord have acquired a hotly contested contract to build a second Suez canal in Egypt. The contract is worth around $1.5bn, the Financieele Dagblad reported at the weekend.

‘It’s one of the biggest dredging jobs of the decade’, the paper quotes Boskalis ceo Peter Berdowski as saying.

The contract was signed at the weekend by the Egyptian prime-minister and the head of the  Suez Canal Authorities (SCA). Boskalis and Van Oord have formed a consortium with Belgian company Jan de Nul and NMDC from Abu Dhabi.

Congestion

The plan to build a second Suez Canal parallel to the existing canal was announced by president Al-Sisi in August. It is meant to put an end to the one way traffic in some parts of the canal and avoid congestion on one of the most important shipping routes in the world.

The project will also bring employment to the area, revive the economy and give a boost to national pride, the FD writes.

The canal generates some $5bn in toll revenue a year which makes it the Egypt’s biggest earner. A parallel shipping lane will almost double the number of ships that pass through the canal and take it from 49 to 97 ships a day. The Egyptian government expects toll revenue to rise to over $13bn annually.

Challenge

The consortium is going to have to remove 180 million cubic meters of sand in order to dig the 24 meter deep, 50km long canal. Time is short: the consortium only has ten months to finish the job and dredging boats from all over the world are converging on Egypt. ‘It’s going to be an enormous challenge,’ Berdowski is quoted as saying.

The Dutch consortium pipped the China Harbor Engineering & Construction (Chec) to the post, ‘probably because we were the only ones who could come up with the material in such a short amount of time,’ Berdowski told the FD.

Related Article:


Friday, October 17, 2014

Boko Haram agrees to ceasefire, release of school girls

The Islamist militant group Boko Haram has agreed to a ceasefire and the release of more than 200 kidnapped school girls, according to Nigerian officials. The girls were abducted six months ago from a school in Chibok.

Deutsche Welle, 17 Oct 2014


Nigerian government officials claimed on Friday to have struck a two-part deal with Boko Haram, including a ceasefire and the release of 219 school girls, whose abduction last April sparked international outrage.

"Boko Haram issued the ceasefire as a result of the discussions we have been having with them," said Hassan Tukur, who represented the Nigerian government at talks with the militant organization in neighboring Chad. "They have agreed to release the Chibok girls," he continued

The girls have been missing for the past six months, despite international efforts mobilized by the Twitter hashtag campaign #BringBackOurGirls to rescue them from captivity. France, Great Britain and the United States have helped with the search for the girls, while China, Israel and other nations have also provided various forms of assistance.

Nearly 300 girls were kidnapped from a boarding school in the northeastern town of Chibok on April 14, but dozens managed to subsequently escape. Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has been criticized by the girls' families for responding slowly to their abduction.

Brutal war in Nigeria's north

Boko Haram, whose name roughly translates to "Western education is sacrilege," seeks to impose a strict interpretation of Shariah law in northern Nigeria. During its early years, the Sunni militant group engaged in isolated skirmishes with Nigerian security forces. But after a bloody government crackdown in 2009, Boko Haram launched a broad insurgency. Last summer, Boko Haram leader Abubakar Shekau declared a calipate in the areas under his forces control.

Boko Haram's insurgency has been characterized by a brutal campaign of bombings and shootings targeting Christian churches, Muslim mosques, schools, markets, bars, villages, police stations and even a UN building. An estimated 5,000 Nigerians have been killed and a further 300,000 displaced by the violence.

In 2013, the Nigerian government declared a state of emergency in the northeastern states of Borno, Yobe, and Adamawa. Amnesty International has accused the Nigerian military of war crimes, including extrajudicial killings, in its fight against Boko Haram. The United Nations and Human Rights Watch have also alleged that Nigeria's security forces have committed human rights abuses.

Nigeria's population of 177 million people is 50 percent Muslim and 40 percent Christian. Muslims are concentrated in the north and Christians in the south. The remaining 10 percnet of the population practices indigenous beliefs.

slk/shs (AP, AFP, Reuters)

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Reconstruction funds pledged for Gaza

Pledges for the reconstruction of Gaza have been made at an international meeting in Cairo. There were also renewed calls for peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.

Deutsche Welle, 12 Oct 2014


Thirty international envoys gathered in Cairo on Sunday to discuss reconstruction of the Gaza strip. Some 18,000 homes in Gaza together with major parts of the territory's infrastructure were destroyed in the seven-week conflict with Israel this summer. The Palestinians have put the full cost of reconstruction at about $4 billion (3.16 billion euros) over three years.

"The state of Qatar announces its participation with an amount of $1 billion for the reconstruction of Gaza," Qatari Foreign Minister Khaled al-Attiya said at the meeting.

US Secretary of State John Kerry announced $212 million in US aid to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. "The people of Gaza do need our help, desperately, not tomorrow, not next week, they need it now," Kerry told the meeting.

European Union member states will contribute a total of 450 million euros ($568 million) to Gaza, the bloc's foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced Germany is to contribute 50 million euros to reconstruction efforts in Gaza: "We can't allow the people in Gaza to sink into despair," he said in a statement.

Britain is to provide $32 million for reconstruction according to the country's ambassador in Cairo.

Palestinians put the cost of reconstruction
at about $4 billion
Israel was not invited to the conference but Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said any effort would need his government's consent: "Gaza cannot be rebuilt without the cooperation and participation of Israel," Lieberman told the Ynet news service. He added that Israel would be "receptive" to plans for "the reconstruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza."

Renewed peace calls

At the conference on Sunday there were also renewed calls for a peace process between the Palestinians and Israel.

"Out of this conference must come not just money but a renewed commitment from everybody to work for peace that meets the aspirations of all, for Israelis, for Palestinians for all people of this region," Kerry said. "And I promise you the full commitment of president Obama, myself and the United States to try to do that."

Egypt renewed its call for a wider Middle East peace deal based on a 2002 initiative proposed by Saudi Arabia, offering full recognition of the Jewish state, if it gave up all land seized in the 1967 Middle East war and agreed to a "just solution" for Palestinian refugees.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas also said the 2002 Arab plan could be the framework for a new comprehensive approach to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

Israel has previously rejected this initiative.

jm/rc (Reuters, AFP)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) greets Palestinian Authority President
 Mahmud Abbas (C) at Andalus Villa in Cairo on October 12, 2014, on the
sidelines of the Gaza Donor Conference (AFP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Palestinian unity cabinet holds first meeting in the Gaza Strip

The Palestinian unity government has held its first-ever meeting in the Gaza Strip. This came just days ahead of a donors' conference to raise funds for the territory, which was battered by a recent Israeli offensive.

Deutsche Welle, 9 Oct 2014


Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah and 11 ministers crossed into the coastal territory through the Erez crossing on Thursday, where they were met by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas of the Fatah party, as well as senior officials from the Islamist militant group Hamas.

They then toured the town of Beit Hanoun and the Shijaiyah district of Gaza City, both of which were badly damaged in Israel's summer offensive.

"What we have seen today is dreadful and painful, and it has become clear to us that the rebuilding (of Gaza) is at the top of our list of priorities," Prime Minister Hamdallah said after the visit.

The ministers from Gaza subsequently traveled to Abbas' former residence in Gaza City, where they were joined by five Gaza-based ministers. These had been unable to attend when the government of technocrats was sworn in during a ceremony held in the West Bank city of Ramallah in June, as Israel had prevented them from traveling there. The five ministers had been forced to take part in previous cabinet meetings, also held in Ramallah, via video conference.

"We are facing a humanitarian and moral duty to our people in Gaza," the prime minister said even before surveying the damage in the narrow coastal strip.

Seven years of division

"We have put the years of division behind us, and the most important priority of the government is to guarantee a return to normal life for Gazans and unity with the West Bank," he added.

The agreement to form a unity government, reached back in April, is aimed at ending the bitter seven-year split between Fatah and Hamas, which began when Hamas forcibly seized control of the territory in 2007.

Between then and the formation of the unity administration, Fatah had governed the West Bank, while Hamas, which is regarded by Israel as a terrorist organization, ruled Gaza, leading Israel to impose a blockade on the territory.

Thursday's meeting came three days ahead of an international donors' conference, which Abbas has said he hopes will generate $4 billion (3.14 billion euros) in aid to reconstruct the Gaza Strip. Tens of thousand of Gazans were left homeless after their homes were destroyed in this past summer's 50-day Israeli air and ground offensive aimed at stopping militant rocket fire on the Jewish state.

More than 2,100 Gazans, mostly civilians, were killed in the conflict, while 73 people, mainly soldiers, were killed on the Israeli side.

pfd/tj (AP, AFP)
Related Article:


Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Kenyan leader in Netherlands ahead of landmark ICC hearing

Yahoo - AFP, 7 Oct 2014

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta (2nd-R) and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta check in
alongside other passengers at Nairobi airport as they head to the Hague on October 7,
2014 (AFP Photo/PSCU)

Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (Netherlands) (AFP) - Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta arrived at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport on Tuesday ahead of a landmark appearance before the International Criminal Court, where he faces charges of crimes against humanity.

"He has arrived in the Netherlands," his spokesman Manoah Esipisu told AFP shortly after 4:00 pm (0200 GMT).

Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta addresses
 a special legislative session in parliament
 in Nairobi on October 6, 2014 (AFP Photo/
Simon Maina)
Kenyatta, who will become the first sitting president to appear before the chamber, temporarily handed power to his deputy William Ruto earlier in the day before taking a regular flight as a "private" citizen to Amsterdam.

"There is nothing he has done in action or deed as president that would merit him being here in court, that's why he travelled here as a private individual," Esipisu said.

Around a dozen of Kenyatta's supporters were at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport to welcome him, an AFP correspondent said.

Kenyatta is due to attend a "status conference" hearing on Wednesday at The Hague-based ICC, after prosecutors asked for an indefinite delay until Nairobi hands over documents they believe could clinch their case.

Kenyatta, 52, faces five counts at the ICC over his alleged role in masterminding post-election violence in 2007 and 2008 that left 1,200 people dead and 600,000 displaced.

The Kenyan leader has appeared at the ICC before, but not since he was elected president in March 2013.

On Monday Kenyatta told parliament he had taken the "unprecedented" move to temporarily hand over power to Ruto -- whose trial at the ICC has already begun.

"Let it not be said that I am attending... as the president of Kenya," he told a special session of parliament as several lawmakers stamped their feet in support.

Esipisu told AFP that Wednesday's hearing "is a procedural event, not really anything to write home about."

Related Article:


Morocco releases British tourist jailed for ‘homosexual acts’

Family expresses relief after launching campaign to free Ray Cole, 69, who was arrested at bus stop with local man

The Guardian, Patrick Strudwick, Tuesday 7 October 2014

Ray Cole, pictured with his son Adrian, was forced to sleep on a concrete
floor in the Morocco prison. Photograph: PA

The British tourist held in a Moroccan prison after being arrested for “homosexual acts” has been released and is on his way home to Britain.

Ray Cole’s son Adrian told the Guardian on Tuesday: “It’s all happened much quicker than we could have ever hoped. I just received a call from the consulate saying he is about to board a British Airways flight to London.

“We are incredibly relieved. It seems as though the authorities there responded to the fact that we had gone through all the proper channels, lodging an appeal and working with the ambassador.”

A statement released by the family said Cole, 69, was boarding a flight from Marrakech. “We would like to thank everyone here and in Morocco who has helped our campaign to secure the release of our wonderful father. And we would like to thank the Moroccan authorities for showing clemency and compassion.”

Cole was arrested on 18 September at a bus stop in Marrakech with Jamal Jam Wald Nass, a local man in his 20s with whom Cole had struck up a relationship online several months previously. It was Cole’s second visit to the north African country, after a two-week trip in the spring, and he had planned to stay for five weeks on another sightseeing trip with Nass.

But after posting daily updates on his Facebook page of their visits to souks and other tourist attractions, Cole’s messages both on social media and to his family in Kent and Berkshire stopped. Approached by police who, for reasons that remain unclear, suspected him of homosexuality, Cole was arrested and detained along with Nass.

In custody, the Moroccan authorities found a photo on his phone purportedly providing evidence of “homosexual acts”, which are illegal in the predominantly Muslim country. They then investigated his Facebook page and email account in search of corroborating evidence.

Concerned by the lack of contact, Cole’s family contacted the Foreign Office. Interpol and the consulate investigated Cole’s whereabouts for several days until the Moroccan authorities told them of his location in prison.

After an initial trial was adjourned because Cole had neither legal representation nor a translator, he was eventually tried and found guilty of “homosexual acts” on 2 October, as his family watched from the court. Both he and Nass were sentenced to four months in prison.

Adrian Cole said on Monday that he had launched a campaign for his retired father’s release amid concerns over his health – including a history of heart conditions and a stroke – and the “chaotic” trial and stark prison conditions. Cole, who volunteers as a driver taking elderly people to hospital in his home town of Deal, in Kent, was forced to sleep on a concrete floor throughout his time in prison.

The family set up an online petition for his release and a crowdfunding page to help pay the legal and translator fees. An appeal was lodged last week, which the family had been expecting to take place in several weeks’ time.

The gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell described the arrest of a British tourist on such charges as “extremely unusual”.

Related Article:


Monday, October 6, 2014

Kerry to join Cairo talks on rebuilding Gaza

Yahoo – AFP, 6 Oct 2014

US Secretary of State John Kerry gestures upon his arrival for a meeting with
 Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah on July 23, 
2014 (AFP Photo/Abbas Momani)

Washington (AFP) - Secretary of State John Kerry will take part in a conference on rebuilding Gaza, devastated by a 50-day war with Israel earlier this year, a US official said Monday.

Kerry "will be attending the conference" to be held in Cairo on October 12, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki told reporters.

The Palestinian government on Thursday unveiled a 76-page reconstruction plan for Gaza, calling for $4 billion to rebuild the war-battered territory, with the largest amount going to build housing for some 100,000 left homeless.

The Israeli military operation in the impoverished Gaza Strip killed nearly 2,200 Palestinians, while attacks by Gaza militants killed 73 on the Israeli side.

The report said $4 billion (3.2 billion euros) would be needed for the "direct costs" of rebuilding the besieged coastal territory. It would include $1.9 billion for public and private infrastructure repairs, and $1.2 billion for "reactivating economic productivity."

The priority will be to remove rubble and unexploded shells, while also repairing Gaza's power station and improving access to water, health care and education.

Last month, the US unveiled an additional $71 million in emergency aid to Gaza, highlighting that "more than 580,000 people are still sheltering in United Nations facilities."

It brought the US total funding since the start of the war to more than $118 million.

"Basic necessities like food, clean water, and fuel remain in short supply throughout the territory," the State Department warned in a September statement.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Whistleblower phone app seeks to outsmart corruption

Yahoo – AFP, Amy Fallon, 28 Sep 2014

Gerald Businge, the project co-ordinator of Action for Transparency (A4T),
 demonstrating how his anti-corruption app works, in Kampala, Uganda, September 19,
2014 (AFP Photo/Isaac Kasamani)

Kampala (AFP) - Douglas Buule, a teacher at Kiwenda primary, a government school outside Uganda's capital Kampala, has a recurring problem.

"The money used to access the chalk comes late, even towards the end of term," explains Buule. "It is a big burden to keep on writing on a chalk board. So sometimes the head teacher buys chalk on credit or even uses her own money."

Funds arriving late or going missing altogether also mean the school's 529 students usually only take exams twice a term instead of monthly, said the teacher.

Gerald Businge, the project co-ordinator of 
Action for Transparency, demonstrating how
 his anti-corruption app works, September 19, 
2014 (AFP Photo/Isaac Kasamani)
"There is lack of transparency in many government institutions on the funds that are supplied and used," said Buule, complaining of the country's endemic corruption. "That lack of transparency is affecting day-to-day learning."

But now, a new project is shifting the balance of power.

Through the Action for Transparency (A4T) Smartphone app, being piloted in three Ugandan districts, communities are being armed with information allowing them to report anonymously when budget allocations for health centres and schools fail to match public expenditure.

Using the GPS-enabled A4T app, a user can receive the location of a school or health centre, the number of staff allocated to them by both the government and the institution, and the amount of money approved and dispersed.

If they suspect money is being misused -- for example if the government provides funds for an ambulance which then is nowhere to be seen -- the user can simply click on the app's whistle icon to send an instant report to the A4T website and their Facebook page.

"If it is a police case we'll report it to the police," said Moses Karatunga, the programme officer for Transparency International (TI) Uganda. "If it's an advocacy issue we can take it up with the ministry."

Keeping tabs on the cash flow

In the past year, Uganda's corruption rating has deteriorated, according to TI. They are introducing the app along with the Fojo Media Institute, part of Linnaeus University in Sweden, the Uganda Media Development Foundation (UMDF) and the African Center for Media Excellence (ACME).

Gerald Businge, the A4T project coordinator, said Ugandans feared blowing the whistle on corruption.

"They think they could get sacked, they could get victimised," he said. "There is also that worry 'I report and nothing is done.' So we're saying 'take this to the public court'."

President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni address
 the United Nations General Assembly on
 September 24, 2014 in New York. An app is
 helping to tackle corruption in Uganda (AFP
Photo/Andrew Burton)
But it's hoped that through A4T, which has been funded by SIDA, the Swedish International Development Agency, mismanagement of money can be prevented.

"When people know they're being monitored they're less likely to squander or misuse money," said Businge.

Community monitors such as Twahah Musoke visit schools and health facilities in their area a minimum of two times in a quarter. The institutions and facilities can also access the app from the TI representatives.

Already Musoke has been to five schools, including Kiwenda primary, and three health centres in the Busukuma area, home to about 16,000 people, in Wakiso district.

Challenges related to monitoring money include financial committees not knowing how much government money is being sent, and information and money staying with one person, for instance a school headmistress, instead of a team, he said.

"We need to empower people to realise it's their responsibility to access this information," said Musoke.

"If they go and seek the information the administrators of these facilities will be in a position to account for and utilise (the money) the way it's meant to be utilised."

Businge said phones were chosen for the project as "very many Ugandans have mobile phones and at least every family has a mobile phone".

"We're telling people that phones can do much more than what you're already doing," he said.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Will ET Be Here Soon? NASA Brings Scientists, Theologians Together To Prepare



Looking for extraterrestrial life is akin to a search for a cosmic needle-in-a-haystack, as evidenced by the above incredible Hubble Space Telescope image showing approximately 10,000 galaxies.

In large part, thanks to NASA's Kepler spacecraft, more than 1,400 planets have been identified beyond Earth.

A few days ago, NASA tried closing the gap between life on Earth and the possibilities of life elsewhere. The space agency and the Library of Congress (image below left) brought together scientists, historians, philosophers and theologians from around the world for a two-day symposium, "Preparing For Discovery." Their agenda: To explore how we prepare for the inevitable discovery of extraterrestrial life, be it simple microbial organisms or intelligent beings.

"We're looking at all scenarios about finding life. If you find microbes, that's one thing. If you find intelligence, it's another. And if they communicate, it's something else, and depending on what they say, it's something else!" said astronomer, symposium organizer and former chief NASA historian, Steven J. Dick.

"The idea is not to wait until we make a discovery, but to try and prepare the public for what the implications might be when such a discovery is made," Dick told The Huffington Post. "I think the reason that NASA is backing this is because of all the recent activity in the discovery of exoplanets and the advances in astrobiology in general.

"People just consider it much more likely now that we're going to find something -- probably microbes first and maybe intelligence later," he added. "The driving force behind this is from a scientific point of view that it seems much more likely now that we are going to find life at some point in the future."

Among the many speakers at last week's astrobiology symposium, one has raised a few international eyebrows in recent years.

"I believe [alien life exists], but I have no evidence. I would be really excited and it would make my understanding of my religion deeper and richer in ways that I can't even predict yet, which is why it would be so exciting," Brother Guy Consolmagno, a Jesuit brother, astronomer and Vatican planetary scientist told HuffPost senior science editor David Freeman.

Consolmagno has publicly stated his belief that "any entity -- no matter how many tentacles it has -- has a soul," and he's suggested that he would be happy to baptize any ETs, as long as they requested it.

"There has to be freedom to do science. Being a good scientist means admitting we never have the whole truth -- there's always more to learn." Consolmagno also doesn't think the public would panic when or if it's revealed that alien life has been found.

"I really think it would be a three-day wonder and then we'd go back to worrying about reality TV or the crazy things going on in Washington -- that's the way human beings are. Because I think most people are like me: we expect it's out there. And our reaction would be, 'Wow, thank heavens. It's about time."

Earth is no longer the center of the universe, nor is it flat -- at least that's the currently accepted thinking among most scientists. And we now know, conclusively, that there are a lot more planets than the ones in our own solar system.

"The number of habitable worlds in our galaxy is certainly in the tens of billions, minimum, and we haven't even talked about the moons. And the number of galaxies we can see, other than our own, is about 100 billion," Seth Shostak, senior astronomer at California's SETI Institute told HuffPost.

Watch this video zooming and panning through the night sky to show 10,000 galaxies photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope.


At the NASA/Library of Congress symposium, Shostak gave out some startling numbers about how many stars there are in the part of the universe that we can see. "It's a big number: 10,000 billion, billion. And we know that most of those stars have planets -- 70 or 80 percent. If all of those planets are sterile, and you're the only interesting thing happening in the cosmos, then you are a miracle. That would be exceptional in the extreme. So, the middle-of-the-road approach is to say, 'You're not a miracle, you're just another duck in a row of ducks.'"

"The bottom line of this," Shostak said, "is something like one in five of all stars may have an analog to Earth. That's a lot of habitable worlds, and, indeed, the number of Earths in our own galaxy might be on the order of 50 billion."

Those are big numbers to ponder.

The D.C. conference included a great deal of discussion about the upcoming mission of the Hubble's long-anticipated successor: the James Webb Space Telescope. As large as a tennis court, this deep space observatory is scheduled for a 2018 launch and will orbit beyond our moon. The Webb telescope will focus on new planetary discoveries and collect data from the atmospheres of those planets, looking for certain things that might point to what we would consider possible indicators of life.

HuffPost asked Dick, an astrobiologist, for his opinion on the continuing output of UFO reports around the world.

"I try to keep an open mind on this. Ninety-some percent can be explained by natural phenomena, etc. The question is what to do with the other 3 or 4 percent," Dick said. "My opinion is that they should be studied further, on the one hand. By definition, they're something that we don't know what they are. They could be some physical, psychological or social phenomena that we don't know about. But I think it's jumping to a conclusion that they're extraterrestrial. I don't see that evidence.

"I haven't looked at the evidence close enough to say that there's intelligence behind it. But I've seen enough to know that there are unexplained things that we should look at more, and right now, the U.S. government is not doing that."

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(#) New major Discoveries (This channel will become a historical channel in the future, prove that Kryon is a real communication to humanity from the Creative Source) (Text version Physics)

1 To see and measure multi-dimensional/quantum physics, instrument (super cooling quantum plasma lens)

2 Two more laws of multi-dimensional physics revealed: explanation of dark matter & acknowledgement of free energy (controlling mass)

3 God in the atom. God has - provable - part in physics. Intelligent/benevolent design. (Will bring religion and science together.)

4 Human Consciousness is an attribute of physics. (Pleiadians - Humans ancestors / Humans free choice only planet in the Milky Way Galaxy. Other galaxies have their own spiritual systems and physics)

5.Coherent DNA. Multidimensional DNA coherent between dimensions will give Enhanced DNA


"Earth, the only planet with free choice in the Milky Way Galaxy"

"The Quantum Factor" – Apr 10, 2011 (Kryon channeled by Lee Carroll) (Subjects: Galaxies, Universe, Intelligent design, Benevolent design, Aliens, Nikola Tesla (Quantum energy), Inter-Planetary Travel, DNA, Genes, Stem Cells, Cells, Rejuvenation, Shift of Human Consciousness, Spontaneous Remission, Religion, Dictators, Africa, China, Nuclear Power, Sustainable Development, Animals, Global Unity.. etc.) - (Text Version)


"Recalibration of the Universe"– Jan 25, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) (Text Version)

“… The entire galaxy revolves as one plate, in a very counter-intuitive way. The stars and the constellations do not orbit within the rules of Newtonian physics that you are used to seeing all around you in your own solar system. For the stars and clusters in your galaxy, distance from the center does not matter. All the stars rotate as one. This is because the galaxy is entangled with the middle of itself. In that state, there is no time or distance. The change of consciousness on this planet has changed the center of the galaxy. This is because what happens here, dear one, is "known" by the center.

It's interesting to us what your reaction to all this is scientifically. You saw that the "creative event" of your Universe is missing some energy in order for it to have formed as it did. In addition, the unusual way the galaxy rotates, as I just stated, was also noted. So you have calculated that for all this to be in place, there has to be missing 3D matter, and you have given it a name - dark matter. How funny! Did you ever think that there could be a multidimensional effect going on that you now can observe and calculate - that has immense power, but can't be seen? It's not "matter" at all and it's not 3D. It's quantum energy.

Let me tell you something about physics. Yet again, I'll make it simple. Everything your scientists have seen in physics happens in pairs. At the moment, there are four laws of physics in your three-dimensional paradigm. They represent two pairs of energy types. Eventually, there will be six. At the center of your galaxy is what you call a black hole, but it is not a single thing. It is a duality. There is no such thing as "singularity". You might say it's one energy with two parts - a weak and a strong quantum force. And the strangest thing is it knows who you are. It is the creator engine. It's different in other galaxies than this one. It's unique.

The very physics of your galaxy is postured by what you do here. The astronomers can look into the cosmos and they will discover different physics in different galaxies. Could it be that there's something going on in the other galaxies like this one? I'm not going to answer that. … “